Pinguecula is a harmless yellowish raised growth on the white part of your eye. It’s thought to be caused by exposure to sun, wind and dust. Besides the bump, other common symptoms include eye redness, irritation and dry eye. Medications can relieve discomfort if needed. Surgery usually isn’t needed unless you don’t like the way your eye looks.
Pinguecula (pronounced, ping-gweh-kyuh-luh) is a yellowish raised growth on your eye’s conjunctiva. Your conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the white part of your eye.
The pinguecula typically forms on the inner side of the white part of your eye, near your nose. But it can also appear on the other side of your eye too.
A pinguecula is a deposit of protein, fat or calcium or a combination of all three. It may be small, round or triangular in shape and barely noticeable. Over many years, it may grow in size.
Pinguecula is a harmless growth that’s not dangerous. It’s not cancer. In most cases, it usually doesn’t cause pain or discomfort. In most people, a pinguecula usually doesn’t need to be removed or treated.
Pinguecula can happen to anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors in the sun without eye protection. The chance of pinguecula increases with age. It’s most commonly seen in middle-aged and older adults.
Pinguecula is a common condition. Almost everyone has some signs of pinguecula by their 80s.
Pinguecula usually develops outside your central vision. It’s not impossible, but it usually doesn’t grow large enough to block your vision. Having a pinguecula will not cause blindness.
Pinguecula doesn’t go away on its own. The only way to remove it is with surgery.
Both are growths on your eye’s conjunctiva. Exposure to sun, wind or dust is thought to be a common link.
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Pingueculitis means inflammation is present. When this happens, the pinguecula interferes with your tear film. You’ll experience dry eye symptoms, including burning sensation, itching, and a feeling of having something in your eye.
The most common symptom of pinguecula is a small, yellowish patch or bump on the conjunctiva of your eye.
Other symptoms include:
These symptoms can be mild to severe. Pinguecula can happen in one or both eyes and more than one can be present in the same eye.
A change in your conjunctiva causes pinguecula. The result is a small yellow-white bump. The reason for the change is not fully known, but causes may include:
Your eye care provider can diagnose pinguecula through a normal eye exam. Your provider will use a slit lamp to closely examine the growth. A slit lamp is a type of microscope that focuses a narrow (a “slit”) line of bright light on your eye. It helps your provider look at the front and inside of your eye.
If your symptoms aren’t causing eye discomfort, you probably don’t need treatment. If the pinguecula is causing discomfort, your eye care provider may:
You and your provider may discuss surgery to remove the pinguecula if:
Keep in mind that pinguecula can grow back even if you’ve had surgery.
Argon laser photocoagulation is an alternative approach to surgery to remove the pinguecula. An anesthetic eye drop is put in your eye to numb it. A high-power laser removes thicker pinguecula; a low-power laser removes thinner pinguecula.
You’ll receive topical antibiotic steroid eye drops to put in your eye while it heals.
Ask your eye care provider which removal method — surgery or laser — is best suited for the pinguecula on your eye, should you choose to remove it.
You can lower your risk of developing pinguecula if you:
Pinguecula has a good prognosis. A pinguecula usually doesn’t cause any serious problems. Most people who have a pinguecula don’t need treatment. Medications can treat symptoms if you have them. If the pinguecula grows to the point where it blocks or blurs your vision (a rare event), your provider can remove it.
See your eye care provider if you think you have a pinguecula or notice any change in your vision. Also call your provider if you have a pinguecula and continue to feel eye discomfort despite using medications. A visit will allow your provider to confirm the diagnosis, check the general health of your eyes and change or amend your medications.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It may be comforting to know that a pinguecula is a harmless growth on your eye. It usually doesn’t interfere with your vision or requires treatment. If it does cause ongoing discomfort, your provider can recommend a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Ask your provider about surgery as an option if your eye remains uncomfortable despite treatment or if you’re bothered by the way your eye looks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/08/2022.
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